DECAY OF THE CALIPHATE 87
him, later cut him out of the spiritual succession in favourl
of a younger son Musa, known as Kazim. The reason'
for this action is stated to have been that Ismail had
drunk the forbidden wine. Shortly after this, and during
the lifetime of Jafar, Ismail, the disinherited son, died.
This act of disinheritance divided the Shias, for, although
the large majority followed Musa, a considerable minority
remained faithful to Ismail or rather, as he had never!
been Imam, to his son Mohamed, whom they believed)
to be the seventh and last Imam.
The Carmathians.—The first missionary of the Ismaili
faith in Irak during the Caliphate of Motazid was a certain
Hamdan, surnamed Carmat, after whom the adherents
of the doctrine were nicknamed Carmathians. He offered
to join the Zanj leader, the " Reprobate," with one hundred
thousand men, but they differed in their tenets and were
unable to combine. Little seems to be known of Carmat's
life, but he fell by the hands of an assassin. Later, the
sons of a certain Zakaria, and after their capture and
execution Zakaria himself, became leaders of the sect and
engaged in savage wars.1
At the beginning of the fourth century of the Hijra
Basra was stormed by Sulayman, yet another fanatic, and
afterwards Kufa, and the terrible anarchy culminated in the
sack of Mecca in A.H. 317 (929) and the carrying away of
the Black Stone. After this the storm subsided and the
sect was weakened by dissensions, but the recorded fact that
in A.H. 396 (985) Multan was governed by a Carmathian
shows how far its power and influence reached. These
sects, all of whom fought against society, constitute one
of the darkest sides to Islam. As will be seen later, their
doctrines continued to be preached in Persia.
The Rise of the Samanid Dynasty.—More powerful
than the Tahirid or Saffarid families, which flourished in
the one case only just over, and in the other just under,
half a century, was the Samanid dynasty, which endured
for a century and a quarter. Its founder was Saman, a
Persian nobleman or Balkh, descended from Bahram
1 Al-biruni in his Chronology of Ancient Nations devotes a chapter to the eras of the
Pseudo-Prophets, to which I would refer the curious reader. The best account of the
Carmathians is in EncycL Religion and Ethics, vol. iii. p. azz.